FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

McCarthyism in Europe Today 

Photo from United States Senate | CC BY 2.0

Big Brother [speaking in English – of course – with an American accent]: “Are you or have you ever been sympathetic to the old communist experience in Eastern Europe?”

Yanis Varoufakis: “No! Never!”

Big Brother: “And what about Russia today?”

Yanis Varoufakis: “It’s a sinister and good for nothing place!”

What are Europeans allowed to think today? What are the parameters of current European thought? What magic words aid careerism and media exposure in Europe? And what thoughts in the European landscape are simply verboten?

The razor sharp mind of the former Greek finance minister and the founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), Yanis Varoufakis, is a good indicator of contemporary European thinking. And it’s corrupt shallowness.

Varoufakis declares himself to be a “Europeanist”. Indeed going by his latest book Adults in the Room that’s all he thinks about: Europe. Or to be more precise: the European Union and how to prevent it from falling apart. “Democracy, pluralism and unwavering Europeanism” is his solution to the EU’s problems. That and anti-communism.

When face to face with the EU’s most hawkish decision maker – German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble – this is how Varoufakis defines and defends himself and the “radical left” in Greece.

 ‘Are you comparing me with a well-meaning DDR [East German Communist] minister….?’ I asked. ‘Let me reassure you, Wolfgang…. I am a committed democract, a determined pluralist and an unwavering Europeanist. And so are my Syriza party colleagues. We have …[nothing]… in common with [East German Communism].’ “

Varoufakis believed that his own credibility and that of his “radical left” party in 2015 hinged upon this clear disavowal of communism.

But Varoufakis doesn’t stop there – he’s desperate to be a good European. In his account of his time in the Eurozone crisis he places other markers around the edges of his thought. Markers which are meant to support his European-ness. And indeed his morality.

And what do these markers look like? They’re almost invisible in the context of 500 dense pages – but they’re strategic pointers that prove Varoufakis is a real “Europeanist”.

On page two Varoufakis quickly frames his understanding of Europe today: “Vladimir Putin must be rubbing his eyes in disbelief at the way the West has been undermining itself so fabulously.” For this truly European author it’s a given that “Putin” is enjoying the fall of the West!

A few lines later our European hero (Varoufakis) says: “there are no ‘goodies’ or ‘baddies’ in this book.” But in the background of course there is one bad “regime” he can’t tolerate.

On page 347 he calmly states: “Putin and his regime had an appalling human rights record: did we, whose only real backers were the progressives of Europe, want to be associated with such a state?”.

So who then do we good Europeans want to associate with? Varoufakis doesn’t explicitly answer this question because the answer is obvious: America. The Butcher of Arabia and The Godfather of Zombie Capitalism – the humanitarian USA – is apparently progressive Europe’s only option.

Varoufakis has no compunction when linking up with the American Deep State. In his struggle to be a good European he openly embraces: Lawrence ‘Larry’ Summers, Jeffrey Sachs, Bernie Saunders and Barack Obama.

In his struggle (his ‘Mein Kampf’) to be a good European Varoufakis is clear: he didn’t want to antagonize America. And so he persuaded Syriza to jettison it’s genuinely radical 2012 plans. Plans that included, for example, the closure of “all foreign bases in Greece and withdrawal from NATO”.

In a 2013 speech, written by Varoufakis, Syriza directly informed the Brookings Institution that US foreign policy was now not a problem. In other words, the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East caused by the US was not an issue for the good European.

And this brings us to the big blank space in Varoufakis’s understanding of Europe today: imperialism. Joseph McCarthy would’ve been proud. Because while emphasizing his anti-communism and his Russophobia this good European – Varoufakis – completely misses the horror which Europe and it’s partner/master (the USA) are responsible for.

NATO’s wars of aggression which are contemporaneous with the Eurozone crisis – and which may explain a large part of that crisis – are absent from Varoufakis’s account of European reality.

But what does Varoufakis know? After all he’s only an economist. Reality is something the academic economist rarely addresses. Another in vogue “left-wing” European economist unconsciously explains the problem well.

In his best selling book Capital the Frenchman Thomas Piketty declares in his introduction:

“I belong to a generation that turned eighteen in 1989…. I belong to a generation that came of age listening to news of the collapse of the Communist dictatorships and never felt the slightest affection or nostalgia for those regimes or for the Soviet Union. I was vaccinated for life against the conventional but lazy rhetoric of anticapitalism…”

Varoufakis is a bit older than Piketty but he too was obviously “vaccinated for life against …anticapitalism”.

This vaccination however wasn’t just against anti-capitalism: it was also against anti-imperialism. As a result Piketty too doesn’t mention imperialism once in his book on capital.

Such is the emptiness of the “progressive” European mind today that reality passes it and it sees nothing. And Europe is paying the price. Cut off from it’s fellow Europeans (it’s working class and the Russians) and cut off from it’s neighbors (the Asians and Africans) “progressive Europe” is an embarrassing lonely fool.

Only by engaging and adopting the verboten concepts – anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism – does it have a hope. But that demands independence from It’s American Big Brother. And it also demands probably for the first time in the history of Europe: adulthood.

More articles by:

Aidan O’Brien lives in Dublin, Ireland.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
September 18, 2019
Kenneth Surin
An Excellent Study Of The Manufactured Labour “Antisemitism Crisis”
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Crown Prince Plans to Make Us Forget About the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi Before the US Election
W. T. Whitney
Political Struggle and Fixing Cuba’s Economy
Ron Jacobs
Support the Climate Strike, Not a Military Strike
John Kendall Hawkins
Slouching Toward “Bethlehem”
Ted Rall
Once Again in Afghanistan, the U.S. Proves It Can’t Be Trusted
William Astore
The Ultra-Costly, Underwhelming F-35 Fighter
Dave Lindorff
Why on Earth Would the US Go to War with Iran over an Attack on Saudi Oil Refineries?
Binoy Kampmark
Doctored Admissions: the University Admissions Scandal as a Global Problem
Jeremy Corbyn
Creating a Society of Hope and Inclusion: Speech to the TUC
Zhivko Illeieff
Why You Should Care About #ShutDownDC and the Global Climate Strike  
Catherine Tumber
Land Without Bread: the Green New Deal Forsakes America’s Countryside
Liam Kennedy
Boris Johnson: Elitist Defender of Britain’s Big Banks
September 17, 2019
Mario Barrera
The Southern Strategy and Donald Trump
Robert Jensen
The Danger of Inspiration in a Time of Ecological Crisis
Dean Baker
Health Care: Premiums and Taxes
Dave Lindorff
Recalling the Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Victims of America’s Endless ‘War on Terror’
Binoy Kampmark
Oiling for War: The Houthi Attack on Abqaiq
Susie Day
You Say You Want a Revolution: a Prison Letter to Yoko Ono
Rich Gibson
Seize Solidarity House
Laura Flanders
From Voice of America to NPR: New CEO Lansing’s Glass House
Don Fitz
What is Energy Denial?
Dan Bacher
Governor Newsom Says He Will Veto Bill Blocking Trump Rollback of Endangered Fish Species Protections
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: Time to Stop Pretending and Start Over
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Inside the Syrian Peace Talks
Elliot Sperber
Mickey Mouse Networks
September 16, 2019
Sam Husseini
Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Paul Street
Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor
Paul Atwood
Why Mattis is No Hero
Jonathan Cook
Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate
Jeff Mackler
Trump, Trade and China
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Democrats and the Climate Crisis
Michael Doliner
Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu
Nyla Ali Khan
Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir
Stansfield Smith
Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Tim Butterworth
Socialism Made America Great
Nick Licata
Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t
Abel Prieto
Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz
Robert Koehler
Altruists of the World Unite!
Mel Gurtov
Farewell, John Bolton
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail